The ecological stress theory of aging incorporates the normally harsh environments of natural populations and hence restricted resources. Especially towards lethal extremes, positive associations are expected among fitness traits underlain by selection for energetic efficiency favoring genotypes for stress resistance. Positive pleiotropy is therefore expected for fitness traits across varying ages under these conditions. Furthermore, hormetic zones are regions of maximum energetic efficiency, also implying positive pleiotropy. Negative pleiotropy may therefore be mainly a phenomenon of benign environments.